With Friends Like These…

There’s a great moment in the film Pump Up The Volume where Slater’s character is about to throw in the towel after he realizes the power of his pirate radio show, and is stunned by what it’s led to.

“You see I didn’t plan it like this,” he says. “My dumb dad got me this shortwave radio set so I could just talk to my buddies back east. But I couldn’t reach anybody. So I just imagined I was talking to nobody, I imagined nobody listening.”

That’s how I felt about this blog when I started it up in April of 2001. I just wanted this forum where, under the cover of pseudonyms, my friends and I could screw around. We started out with five authors, and it was a sort of virtual version of getting together on Saturday nights and being stupid in someone’s basement. I wanted it to be a place to let our hair down, relax, and write idiotic and rude shit. It’s taken me almost 15 years to actually get to that point and, now, I’m a moody fuck.

At every turn my friends were my enemies. Two of my fellow bloggers egged me on at every turn and then got offended when I pushed the envelope shortly after 9/11. As the rubble still burned, I created the character of Oscar bin Laden — the misunderstood Texas billionaire who got up to all sorts of mischief. I understand the sensitivity of the comedy (a classic moment, perhaps, of “too soon”), but what was perplexing was when one of the authors became convinced that Oscar bin Laden was real. It took me about two months before I fully comprehended that she was serious in her fear that Oscar bin Laden was not only a real element of the 9/11 terrorists with whom I was in cahoots, but that he was also hunting her.

Though we all went a little crazy after the attacks. I can’t really hold grudges about such total and complete lapses in sanity. She hooked up with my web designer and fellow author and they dropped out of society for a bit, squatting in a burned out apartment building in the south. The guy who designed the page took all my video games and a couple thousand bucks, as well! What a cunt.

I breathed a sigh of relief until their replacements stepped in. A new author and a new web guru to keep the page running, but they brought with them a bizarre bag of bullshit that again ended in them robbing me blind and bizarrely obsessed with destroying my life. Meet the new insanity, same as the old insanity. The web guru was obsessed with the exact opposite sentiment I had of “talking to nobody.” He wanted to “create the next Somethingawful.com” and was laughably deluded about how that would b achieved. His primary tactic appeared to simply become an internet troll and aggressively drive away the readership we had to make room for the imaginary masses. Some strange form of virtual megalomania, I guess. I’m sure a shrink would have a field day. And, again, the relationship ended with my pockets empty. The icing on that cake was when the web guru sent me a nasty email because I stopped paying his Netflix subscription. I loved that. I’ve met some entitlement babies in my lifetime, but that blew me away.

All these people got all this money because (a) I’m the stupidest fuck you’ve ever met and (b) I wanted to do right by them. They were providing a service, and I believed them to be good friends, and I could help…so I did. I did owe them something in exchange for hours of web design. I felt compelled by some idiotic, naive social contract that, perhaps, only existed in my own head. I was blind to the fact that they simply wanted to play some sort of long con to part this fool from his money.

Also, I was high all the time as an endless succession of doctors prescribed an endless succession of drugs to treat an untreatable illness. I was never in my right mind, and they knew it. I was also semi-suicidal and didn’t care. Until a miracle cure did come down the pike and change my life, I figured I wouldn’t live out the year. Who cares about money? Who cares about anything?

And it was that influence that maintained the “talking to nobody” feeling. I didn’t care even if I was talking to somebody, and I was always shocked when it turned out that someone was reading Great Society.

Harder to explain is why I’ve been so keen to involve other people. Again, it’s taken me nearly 15 years to finally just settle down and be the sole voice. Plus, the actual design behind this website can be done by a rabid goat. I don’t need web gurus, or marketing plans, or ambition, or even enough interest to run a spell checker through my awful rants. Fuck you. And fuck me.

I’m here to vent my spleen, to practice writing, and to scream out at the world for no apparent reason and with no clear agenda. This is play time. Words written during stolen lunchtime minutes at my hideous day job. It always was, too. I’d humor my now absent colleagues. Sure, whatever you want, keep it up, just stop foaming at the mouth and bothering me. I’m trying to write 1000 words about the shape of my penis!

In hindsight, this was a horrible mistake. I should have just executed all those people and tried to preserve the integrity of my cock. Uh…this webpage. Or whatever the fuck. I don’t know what I’m saying. There’s no integrity here. That’s retarded.

Anyway, I always think, on 9/11, of the weird and misguided change that this site took after those awful events that now feel rather distant and eclipsed by 14 years of regularly scheduled awful events.

I think about how innocent and fun the page was between April and September. Why, we were almost cute and twee!

(By the way — who was Lori Major?)

After 9/11, there was this note of anger that seeped into all of our writing. It almost felt like we had some sort of demented purpose, though I don’t know what that could possibly have been. Probably to just breathlessly run away from the horrific fucking shit that was leaking out of our TV sets.

I suppose this isn’t surprising… But I’ve always felt like Great Society lost its heart in late 2001, and I feel that the people who were involved over the years and left in a huff are all responsible for the brutal rape and murder of A Good Time.

You stupid fucking cunts all needed to chillax, as the kids used to say in the Long Long Ago. But you didn’t. And that’s good, truth be told, because it probably means you’ll stroke out before I do and I’ll get to read your obit and laugh and laugh and laugh. (I check every day, too!)